Calatrava Will Design First Building for U. of South Florida Polytechnic’s New Campus

The Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava will design the first building on a new campus for the University of South Florida Polytechnic, the university announced this morning. The building, a 100,000-square-foot science-and-technology, is expected to open in 2012 and to cost about $45-million.

Mr. Calatrava’s firm, Santiago Calatrava/Festina Lente Services, is based in Zurich, and it is perhaps best known for its striking bridges and for high-profile feats of engineering. The firm’s most prominent American building is the Quadracci Pavilion, a 2001 addition to the Milwaukee Art Museum. For the Florida project, the firm will work with a Tampa partner, Alfonso Architects.

The new building will set the architectural tone for the rest of the $200-million, 170-acre campus, university officials said. Founded in 1988, USF Polytechnic has until now shared Polk Community College’s Lakeland campus, where it enrolls more than 4,000 students. The cost of the new campus has made it controversial, but its supporters have succeeded in getting money appropriated for it nonetheless.

The Calatrava building will be constructed on a corner of the new property beside Interstate 4, which connects Tampa and Orlando, and it will presumably become a landmark like the building that Antoine Predock designed for Cal Poly Pomona’s campus beside Interstate 10 in California. The new Polytechnic campus, for which Mr. Calatrava’s firm will provide an updated master plan, is expected to accommodate 16,000 students eventually.

USF officials noted that Mr. Calatrava is not the first high-profile architect to work on a campus in Lakeland—Frank Lloyd Wright designed a dozen structures for Florida Southern College, a 1,900-student liberal-arts college nearby.

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